News and notes as the Capitals look back on Wednesday night’s 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets and head to Friday’s 5 p.m. showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning:
Calm Tom: Fourth-line right wing Tom Wilson played just under 12 minutes, took one shot, delivered four hits and blocked two shots in the Caps’ win over the Jets, but it was the restraint he showed in a first-period battle with Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien that drew the praise of his coach and teammates.
Wilson was drilled into the Winnipeg net by Byfuglien late in the first period with the Caps trailing 2-1. But instead of chasing Byfuglien down the ice he picked himself up and skated to his bench, drawing an interference penalty that lewd to Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal.
“That’s good discipline by Tom,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. “He sucked it up and we got a PP there.”
Trotz said he’s seeing a lot of maturity from his 21-year-old winger.
“Last year, maybe the year before, Tom Wilson is going to the box,” Trotz said. “And that was a huge goal. He got under the skin of one of their top players and we respond and tie the game up. It got them rattled a little bit.”
Caps goalie Braden Holtby said Wilson is learning the fine art of balancing aggression and restraint.
“It’s big,” Holtby said. “I don’t know if Willy in the past would have done that. It’s good. It’s showing maturity. I think he knows he has a bigger role on the team now.
“He plays more minutes, kills penalties. We need him on the ice more than in the penalty box and he realizes that. He’s playing a really hard physical game and getting the other team off their game.”
Kuz-tastic: Evgeny Kuznetsov now has five three-point games this season, two in the last three games. He has earned nine points in his last seven games.
Snarly: Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov has scored in three straight games and has earned a point in four consecutive games, marking his career-long point streak.
Passing Langway: Defenseman John Carlson (204 points) earned two assists Wednesday night, passing Rod Langway (202) for eighth place on the Capitals franchise list for points by a defenseman . Carlson has 49 goals and 155 assists in 419 career games and now sits 67 points shy of passing Sylvain Cote (270) for seventh on the all-time list.
Other Willy: Justin Williams has scored a goal in four of his last seven games and has 14 points in his last 17 games.
Nice start: The Capitals improved to 15-5-1 (31 points) this season, marking the team’s second best start in franchise history. Washington posted a 16-5-0 record (32 points) through 21 games in 1991-92.
Home ice: The Caps are 9-3-1 at home this season and are 3-1-0 on their five-game homestand, which ends on Friday. The Caps have earned a point in seven of their last eight games at home (6-1-1) and are 9-1-0 when scoring first and 9-0-0 when leading after two periods.
“We know how to play them now,” Backstrom said of tight games. “We did a pretty good job last season and in the playoffs as well. It’s really important in today’s hockey.”